The Black Crowes already possess one of the beefiest sounds in rock. Add legendary Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page and now you're talking about thick-cut steak. Recorded in October 1999, this double-disc slab will certainly stick to your ribs, chock-full as it is of burly, brawny riffs, and it is as flavorful as it is filling. Without question, the pairing of Page and the Crowes sounds as strong on your player as it does on paper. Page's playing is more focused and incisive than it has been of late, the Crowes sound energized and inspired by the esteemed guest, and Chris Robinson makes a fine Robert Plant. The Zep covers, which account for 14 of the 20 tracks, stay close to the original arrangements--you can sing along most of the way based on your knowledge of the Zep studio albums. At first, this may seem disappointing, but it becomes clear very quickly that this method is preferable to any heavy-handed reworkings. And they smartly include a few lesser-known tracks as well ("Sick Again" and "Ten Years Gone" from Physical Graffiti and "Out on the Tiles" from III). The real payoff, however, comes with the half-dozen blues covers, which sound looser and more alive than the Zep tunes. This set isn't innovative, surprising, or adventurous, but that's precisely where its charms lie.
- 60s & 70s
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